Reviewer:Dark Moon -
August 23, 2011 Subject:
I guess I have to believe it, now
For most of my adult life, I've heard that California is regarded by the rest of the nation as being (as one "joke" would have it) "like a granola bar: full of fruits, nuts, and flakes." After watching this film, I guess I have to believe it that that's the way we are really seen.
After all, what better place than the Santa Monica pier (instead of, say, Coney Island?) to set a film that includes a retired Royal Navy captain and the "sea creature" (is she or isn't she? :D) he found on some Greek island, a dive where the Beatniks go to hear cool jazz, a drum circle on the beach (they still do those on Venice Beach), and a very mysterious fortune teller (oh, beg pardon, "chiromancer" or "clairvoyant") who takes herself and her tarot far too seriously (except that she still charges two bucks, even though she "wants to help"). I want to remark on how much it figures that the only level-headed character in this film (Johnny, the Navy gob played by Dennis Hopper) comes from Colorado, but the carousel operators also appear to be sensible people, so I guess us natives are not all a bunch of wackos, after all. :D
Despite the regional stereotypes, I enjoyed this film. Puck30's description of it as a "mood piece" fits much better than the uploader's SciFi/Horror classification. I think I would also agree with the film poster, which bills it as "eerie." Johnny's experiences give him a number of dreams and nightmares; the film is edited in such a way as to give his dreams a sense of reality equal to the waking portions of his experience, all of which lends a very surreal dimension to the film.
Though this print is a bit faded for its age (perhaps the wrong settings were used when it was transferred from film), the video and audio are very clear, and not disrupted by a bazillion repair splices, nor butchered by a hack editing job. Compared to the numerous barely watchable films that have been uploaded to IA, I have no complaints about this one.
The carousel and building shown in this film have both been restored, and are once again in operation for the enjoyment of visitors to the pier. Just as the carousel operator says in the film, the horses and other carousel furniture were hand-carved out of wood by Old World craftsmen. I've read that the apartments above the carousel were highly desired, and occupied by some notable people. Far as I know, there are no apartments available for rent in the restored building (it could still be fun to live there, if there were).
January 2, 2010 Subject:
Early Hopper Low Budget Mood Piece
How about a 'Fantasy, Mystery' piece?
Sailor on shore-leave meets and falls for a mysterious woman who works as a carnival mermaid at the Santa Monica Pier in the early 1960's. Is she a neurotic or actually a descendant of the Sirens?
Stars Dennis Hopper,Linda Lawson,Gavin Muir,Luana Anders.Everybody puts in a decent performance but nothing spectacular. Does get knocked down two stars for 'Print Quality'.
January 2, 2010 Subject:
Despite the "horror" tag, this film starts off more as a quirky romance, and the plot develops on discovering the true identity of Mora. Is she really one of the "sea people" as Johnny has been told. Mora herself has something of an identity crisis brought on when she feels that the sea people are trying to call her back. There is a dark side to the story, and all is revealed by the "twist" near the end of the film. It´s quite likeable, and there are a couple of good musical numbers. The film does look 20 years older than its release date due to the atrocious print quality.